Richard Hines failed his 11+ exam, went to secondary modern school, and was without hope of academic achievement. One day he read T.H.White’s book, The Goshawk. Enthralled he sought a falconry book in the library and trained a kestrel called Kes, taken from a nest in a ruined 16th century Hall. This obsession was to shape the course of Richard’s life. His concern that hawks were being wiped out by pesticides led to him studying Environmental Studies at College. He was Deputy Head in a school but has spent most of his life as a documentary filmmaker, starting his own production company and working for the BBC and Channel 4, before becoming a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University and a writer.

Richard’s experiences at school, where he was cruelly beaten by his teachers, and his love of hawks were the inspiration for his older brother Barry’s novel, A Kestrel for a Knave, which became the iconic film Kes. Richard worked as falconer on the film, teaching David Bradley, who played Billy Casper, how to fly hawks.

Richard’s book, No Way But Gentlenesse. A memoir of how Kes, my kestrel, changed my life, published by Bloomsbury, tells his own true-life story.

Now available in paperback [Bloomsbury]